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JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: Stay in Your Lane

By Jim “Pappy” Moore

When we drive on the streets and highways of Texas, unless they tell us with their bumper stickers, we do not know the political and social beliefs of those who drive beside us, behind us, or in front of us. Most of the time we are thinking about how they are driving, not what they are driving, or what beliefs they embrace.

That is as it should be. When we see someone weaving from side to side because they are texting, we do not care whether they voted for Trump or Biden. We do care that their dangerous habit threatens the safety of all of us.

Social media is the place where people of all political stripes show up to exchange ideas. It is not necessary that people agree on anything except behaving in a manner appropriate, just like our driving example.

The beauty of Facebook and Twitter is they give each of us the only tool we need to make our drive through social media pleasant. It’s called BLOCK.  With the block feature we can make anyone disappear from our screen, never to return, simply by blocking them. They cannot see us and we cannot see them. Like magic, problem solved.

Rather than complain to Facebook or Tweeter, rather than report the person whose writing you loathe, try taking the responsible approach instead of being the snitch. Try blocking them.

See how easy that is? You do not need to silence anyone whose views you find abhorrent. It is not your right to silence others. It is not your right to demand that others say the words you want said, use the labels you find appropriate, obey your demand that they implicitly accept the terms you demand of them. Your choice is to see their words or make those words go away.

We call this concept Freedom of Speech. It is essential to a functioning society where no one has absolute power over the spoken or written word. You don’t have to like it. But you do have to accept it. 

Among those who think like you do, you are free to use words which have currency among such fellow travelers. The choice is easy. Block anyone whose words enrage you, or trouble you, or simply irritate you. Do not expect others to conform to your language, which is full of its own judgments.

Remember the driving analogy. It is none of your business what music the guy in the next car is listening to, or the talk show he may be following. Don’t call the police because he’s listening to some show you find politically offensive. You have a window you can roll up. You have a station you can choose. You never have to hear what he is listening to.

Social media is overrun with busy-bodies who want to have their host enforce their personal choices in politics and language. Stay in your lane. Give everyone their space, and you worry about your space. 

Copyright 2022, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.

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